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Questions I was asked at my teaching job interview is a post that I have wanted to write for a long time. You can look things up online, but hiring someone to teach is totally different from hiring someone to fix computers or do paperwork. Those things are not bad, but they are just very different.
And all of the resources I found last year were about general job searches, not teaching job searches.
Annnd I recently found out that my school is being taken over by the state, so we all have to reapply and reinterview for our jobs. Great.
But it did make this teaching job interview guide a little more important.
Most of these were asked of me at my teaching job interview, and a few I heard from friends that the had to answer at their teaching job interview.
If you read to the end there are some questions that you should ask them at your job interview.
Also read: Free Music Lesson: Bizet Scarf Routine
What is you classroom management system?
This is a biggie. If you don’t read anything else, I hope you read that. This is the number one question at a teaching job interview.
And I did not know it when I interviewed.
So I fumbled. I knew what my strategy was, but I did not know how to articulate it.
Take the time to articulate it out loud.
And repeat after me: I am really big on PBIS.
Your classroom management system should include what to do if a student is acting up AND what sort of incentives there are for if they are doing a good job.
If you need some ideas, you can read them here: Really Specific Classroom Management Systems for the Music Room
What would you do with a particularly difficult student?
The way this was phrased during my teaching job interview was “If you had a difficult student, would you call the administration?”
I’ll give you a hint: they want you to keep the student in your room as long as possible. So move the student away from others and give them an alternate assignment would be your first step. Then I would say to call mom. Then, only if the student is posing a threat to the other students, should you call the administration. Again, only if they are posing a threat to the students or you. As long as they do not look violent, do not bother.
Remember the boy who cried wolf. Only call if it is an emergency.
What is your instrument?
The answer is easy. Although watching non-music people trying to phrase this is interesting.
Also read: How to Get the Most Out of Student Teaching
How would you continue to have the choir (or ukulele club or whatever) succeed? Do you have a plan for accompaniment?
I’ve heard this phrased different ways, but it seems to be a common question.
For me, I told them that I have been in choir for years, and that I did observations at two different choirs, so I would be prepared. As for the accompaniment, I will get someone I know to play, or find tracks online.
Be honest. If you have never been in a (insert club here), tell them. Because they will figure it out quickly if you lie.
A good way to phrase that would be, “I do not have very much experience with choirs. I have been in band for years, and they are similar, so I know how to conduct. I plan to talk to choral directors and research children’s choirs so that I will be prepared, if I get this job.”
You want them to consider you, but you need to be honest.
Also read: The Best Classroom Purchase Ever!
How do you stay organized?
I don’t think this is as common, but I did hear it.
So… what do you do? Do you write everything down? Do you set reminders on your phone? Do you make a list each day? Look at the calendar? Whatever you do, let them know. If you don’t do anything, then figure out something to tell them.
What does a typical day in your classroom look like?
Put some thought into this! This is a very common question.
Do you start your class with a warm up? End with a game? Do you do a lot of Orff material? Play singing games every week? This is where you let them know.
My answer would be this: I start the class with stretching and then some kid of warm up that relates to the lesson we are doing. I always include movement, but it could be a dance or a song or just some movements. Then we have the bulk of the lesson. This could be a song or playing instruments or a movement activity or centers. I like to use different methods of teaching music so that all of the students are encouraged to join in. I try to end the class either with a game that reinforces the lesson, or with a preview of next week’s lesson. I try to include something for the next week’s lesson every week if possible.
Of course, don’t say that if it is not what you do. But this is where you tell them what your teaching style is—orff, Kodaly? Dalcroze? Instruments every day or singing every day? Whatever you do, let them know.
Also read: Free K-2 Music Lesson: Animal Form
How do you use…..?
Chances are, whatever the old music teacher was using is what they think should be done. They may ask about how you use Orff instruments or ukulele. They may throw out how do you use Kodaly?
How do you assess? What do you do with assessment data? All good questions.
How can you reinforce academic concepts in your classroom?
I am noticing this more and more from administration. They want to see you mirror academics in the music room. I do this, and most of it comes organically. Here are some ideas:
Math: Counting songs, Five Little Monkeys, adding beats together, using fractions to describe rhythms, etc.
Science: The science of sound, making soundscapes to describe biomes, etc.
Social Studies: I probably do this the most. Whenever we sing a song, we find it on the map. Sometimes we talk about the culture of the country. If we talk about a composer, we talk about the time period they lived in, etc.
ELA: Writing stories about music, reading about composers, reading books about songs or singing books, pointing out rhyming words, etc. Here are some of my favorite books. Click on the pictures to read the description from Amazon.
Do you have any questions?
The answer is YES. This is your chance to find out what you need to know about the school. This is how you will determine if you want to accept the job.
Now, don’t ask stupid things. Look up the school on the website and see what you can find. If you see that they have a musical every year, ask about it!
- Here are some ideas of things you may want to ask:
- What does the schedule look like?
- Are there after school programs, clubs, or concerts that I will be responsible for?
- What is the current teaching doing that you would like to continue?
- Is there something that is not currently being done that you would like to see in the future?
- Is there a PBIS plan in place?
- What does the room look like?
- Would I be able to do XYZ (whatever you want to do in the future)?
That’s what I have! I hope you find this helpful. What were you asked in your teaching job interview? Let us know in the comments!